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Author Topic: To be Wiccan  (Read 23019 times)
Mithril
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« Topic Start: June 03, 2007, 10:08:16 pm »

This has been bothering me for a bit.

I call myself Wiccan, because I believe Wiccan things. However, I am an incredibly busy person (figure skating two times a week, yoga, violin, summer school for fun, part time work, and soon to start voice again). I just can't get the energy to actually practice. I'm on my own and in the broom closet, so I'm not initiated.

I know what some people would say. You're not initiated, you're not really Wiccan (from the hardcore guardnerians, Brit tradditional, etc.). Or you are whatever you say you are (basically) from the eclectics.
Can I get someone in the middle to set me straight? Would I be like, a non-practicing Wiccan, or can i just say I'm Wiccan?
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« Reply #1: June 03, 2007, 10:46:52 pm »

Can I get someone in the middle to set me straight? Would I be like, a non-practicing Wiccan, or can i just say I'm Wiccan?

Hello Mithril  Smiley

I read this twice and decided not to answer... I'm not Wiccan, so I thought it wouldn't be my business to add 2 cents.  But it really got me thinking and I'd like to discuss it.

As I understand Wicca, much of the belief system is based upon involvement... however, involvement can take many forms; we all have rituals of some kind that we participate in daily without thinking about it (how we prepare for the day or prepare for bed, how we prepare food, or even drive to work).

Having grown up surrounded by Christianity... I always got the feeling that all it took to "be *whatever-religion*" was to simply believe.  For Christians... You accept Jesus, believe he died for your sins -- *BAM* you're Christian.  Granted, as a follower of that faith you are supposed to at the least make an effort to live by their scripture... at any rate -- I don't think that all religions are set up quite like that.

Wicca seems to me, to be something that is lived.  There are not requirements as to how many times per day you have to focus on this element or that deity, etc... that's all personal preference; but living Wiccan seems to be a little more than simply belief.  Most of the sources I've read will touch on this subject, noting that lives are busy as it is... throwing a time consuming belief or activity in sometimes is not possible.

In these cases... what I have seen suggested is to find a way to incorporate rituals which are in tune with your belief into your daily habits.  That might be a great topic to discuss!  How Wiccans (or any religions, really) incorporate their beliefs into their daily rituals without having to block out large portions of time that they simply do not have...

As for what you should call yourself; I believe that is entirely up to you... it sounds like you are a non-practicing Wiccan due to your schedule, but that you do hold that religion close to your heart and if given the time would like to incorporate it into your life.  I don't know that it makes you "less of" a Wiccan, but some of the fundamental aspects of Wicca can only be learned and understood by practice and experience.

You sound VERY busy!!!   Shocked  Give yourself a break Smiley  And look for some alternative ways to bring your rituals into your life -- a little at a time.

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« Reply #2: June 03, 2007, 11:40:27 pm »

I just can't get the energy to actually practice. I'm on my own and in the broom closet, so I'm not initiated.

I'm sort of in the middle in the sense that I have a ton of fun with Wicca yet my tradition still has a good measure of structure.  So maybe I qualify.  Wink

I think that Wicca is a life path.  While it's a unique mystery for each person, I feel that there are some "points of reference" along the path that are similar from Wiccan to Wiccan.  For example, Initiation is a point (actually several points as different degrees are reached), but so is achieving a now-moment focus, developing concentration, connecting with aspects of nature, seeing patterns, etc.

If we wanted to, we could probably come up with hundreds of possible points of reference for guessing where a person might be on their own path.  The problem is that you can't say:  "First, you must meet a God or Goddess; then, you must Initiate; then, you must ..." because the order can be very different from person to person.

While it's true that certain things tend to come before others (for example, we're not likely to be able to work effectively on the astral plane until we've developed our mind's ability to create images and hold those images firmly), I wouldn't know where to begin in placing "Initiation" on the development scale.

Personally, I first developed an interest in magic.  Much later, I developed a serious interest in nature.  Then, I started reading various books on paganism and philosophy.  Soon I became very interested in Wicca and started connecting my love for nature to Wicca concepts.  By the time I Initiated (about the same time I started actually doing magic), I had been considering myself Wiccan for a couple of years. 

So, when, exactly, did I become Wiccan?  I think I became Wiccan once I knew enough about Wicca and myself to make that decision.  I'm honestly not sure exactly when it happened.  As my experience grows, I have to leave myself open to redefining what my Truth is.

You mention that you are involved in some physical activities:  skating and yoga.  Has your understanding of skating and yoga changed since you began identifying yourself as Wiccan?  Has Wicca brought new meaning to your involvement in music?   And, just as important, has music and sports brought new meaning to Wicca for you?

In other words, are you growing through your study of Wicca?  If you see Wicca as bringing more meaning to seemingly unrelated activities in your very busy life, that would be a clue that, at this time at least, you are following your path of Wiccan.  Now you may not be following a specific tradition, but you are on your path.

You may someday decide to embark on another path.  But if you do, chances are good that you'll always say, "I used to be Wicca, but now I'm ......."
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« Reply #3: June 04, 2007, 12:33:28 am »


I do believe there are set "guidelines" someone who is Wiccan should truely adhere to.

But I will take word from some wise advice Scott Cunningham once said.

Some say only a coven can make a Wiccan. Others say only the God and Goddess can. Whose more qualified?

(Not meant to be a jab at anyone Wiccan)

Go where your heart tells you to. If you believe you can be a Wiccan who is not initiated into a coven, then do so! Dedicate yourself. Research. Study. But most importantly, dont do it to prove it to others. Do it because its what your heart is telling you to. Smiley
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« Reply #4: June 04, 2007, 03:58:49 am »

Can I get someone in the middle to set me straight? Would I be like, a non-practicing Wiccan, or can i just say I'm Wiccan?

I did this for a long time and called myself a "Wiccan in Theory". I was dedicated to the path, but not initiated. To the general public (I was out of the broom closet) I was a Wiccan (or that devil-worshippping lesbian, depending on your point of view).

What I've come to realize since not really being a Wiccan anymore but still using it, is that religion/spirituality (though I hate using that word) is born, not acquired. You can spend years being something else until you realize where your heart truly lies, if it does in any current religion at all. It took me 13 years of incarnation to realize that my heart lay in being a Pagan. And another 8 after that to realize the specifics of that Paganism, which are ever-changing. But wherever my heart lies (whether it's Wicca or Witchcraft), I call myself what I feel to be--which is why if you ask me my religion now, I'll say I'm a Witch.

No, I'm not initiated. I'm not even dedicated to my path officially. But I am what I say I am--regardless.

Not sure if my post made much sense (it's one am here) but the gist of it is this: if you feel yourself is aligned with the beliefs and precepts of Wicca, call yourself a Wiccan, even if you're not practicing. Who's going to stop you?

Oh, and if you haven't already...check out Scott Cunningham's Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practicioner and Living Wicca: A Further Guide.... He's quite terrific on Wicca. Wink
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« Reply #5: June 04, 2007, 04:51:04 am »

This has been bothering me for a bit.

Can I get someone in the middle to set me straight? Would I be like, a non-practicing Wiccan, or can i just say I'm Wiccan?

I'm not a Wiccan, but there is something I would like to say.  Spiritualty isn't based on how many rituals you attend or how many fancy tools you collected or shrines that you build.  It comes from the heart and will show up in little ways that guide our lives.

Look at the person you are.  Are you holding true to the spirit of Wicca?  Do you honor the God and Goddess?  How do you feel about the earth?  Does your day to day activities reflection your beliefs?

 I know what it is like to be busy and find it hard to find time to practice.  I would get up 15 minutes to welcome the day.  I would always take time to find something of joy about the day. I used to meditate during my shower.  I would tuck a book into my bag and read during any 'waiting' times.  Steal a few minutes to light a candle and say a prayer.  You would be surprised how easy it is when you start.

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« Reply #6: June 04, 2007, 07:01:03 am »

This has been bothering me for a bit.

I call myself Wiccan, because I believe Wiccan things. However, I am an incredibly busy person (figure skating two times a week, yoga, violin, summer school for fun, part time work, and soon to start voice again). I just can't get the energy to actually practice. I'm on my own and in the broom closet, so I'm not initiated.

I know what some people would say. You're not initiated, you're not really Wiccan (from the hardcore guardnerians, Brit tradditional, etc.). Or you are whatever you say you are (basically) from the eclectics.
Can I get someone in the middle to set me straight? Would I be like, a non-practicing Wiccan, or can i just say I'm Wiccan?


I'm one of those Gardnerians.  I'll point out that being Wiccan means sworn priest/ess of the Gods of the Wica.  You can't be one of them without being invited and initiated.

However, priesthoods are not the only way to serve the gods.  Without being one of the sworn, you won't know the names of the Gods [hence the common phrasing, Lord and Lady, God and Goddess], but that doesn't mean you can't talk to them, ask them for help and thank them for all they do for you.  No one can gainsay anyone who wants to be part of the Old Religion.

That does mean you have to DO something... but that can be as simple as prayer or pouring a libation.  You don't have to overturn your life.  If the Lord and Lady want more out of you, you'll know.

Blesséd Be.



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« Reply #7: June 04, 2007, 07:58:35 am »

Would I be like, a non-practicing Wiccan, or can i just say I'm Wiccan?

Wicca is a religion of shared practices - if you're not sharing the practices, what connects you to your co-religionists?

It may be worth considering whether you want to identify yourself as Wiccan. I'm a member of an initiatory trad - but because we don't have relevant lineage and access to particular information, I identify myself as a religious witch. (Which then leads more usefully into specific discussion about what that means.) Nothing wrong with this: Wicca is by far not the only choice.

The other benefit is that it's freeing: you don't need to feel like you need to match up to someone else's definitions or specific needs. You have more space to figure out what you want to do.

That said, even in a busy life, it's possible to do quite a lot. Rituals don't need to be big and fancy and take hours. They don't need to be noisy or obvious. (Though sometimes, all of those things may be appropriate for a particular kind of purpose.) One of my favorite lines is that we're a practical religion. Finding ways to do small celebrations and also find ways to integrate things into your daily life is a good combination.

I know whereof I speak on the busy: this year, I've been doing group religious work, on top of working full time, going to grad school part time, what will be two moves in 10 months, job hunting, volunteering on the board of my local Pagan Pride day, and several other life events that have taken substantial time. Scheduling is very much - *has* to be - my friend.

The good news is that my religious work - as hard as it has been at times this year - is very rejuvenating and helps give me energy for the other parts of my life. I really feel it when I *don't* find time for personal practice (as opposed to group work: they do different things.)

One book you may like to check out is Dianne Sylvan's "The Circle Within" - it's all about daily practice methods, most of which are very straightforward and possible to integrate into other things you would be doing anyway.
 
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« Reply #8: June 04, 2007, 05:32:48 pm »

This has been bothering me for a bit...

Can I get someone in the middle to set me straight? Would I be like, a non-practicing Wiccan, or can i just say I'm Wiccan?

I am not Wiccan, but I do believe to be so you need to be initiated. Why is it you want to call yourself Wiccan? I hold many Wiccan beliefs very dear and have very similar rituals and holidays, but I do not hold to all of the beliefs nor have I been initiated. I simply call myself a witch. I find the term usually implies Wiccan-esk beliefs and people understand earth-based, magic using, somewhat Karma believing, often solitary person (which is me). If I wanted to be Wiccan, I, personally, believe I would need to find myself a Coven I could trust and go through the rigors involved to become one.

And, I hope I do not sound presumptuous, but your concept of non-practicing Wiccan appears to me to come from a very Christian point of view. As a witch, every choice, every action, every day is based on my personal ethical code (call it religion or world view or personal philosophy etc) and I believe if I never cast another spell or dance up the sun on Summer Solstice I am most certainly still a witch. I do the celebrations, altars etc because they are great fun and they keep me centered and deepen my beliefs, not because they 'make' me a witch. I use magic because I believe it is the way the world works, not because if I do not I am not a 'true' witch.

There is a difference, many Pagan religions are not like many sects of Christianity, whose members are considered wrong to refer to themselves as Catholic, Baptist etc if they do not fulfill the ritual obligations of their particular sect. 
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« Reply #9: June 05, 2007, 08:53:17 am »

This has been bothering me for a bit.

I call myself Wiccan, because I believe Wiccan things. However, I am an incredibly busy person (figure skating two times a week, yoga, violin, summer school for fun, part time work, and soon to start voice again). I just can't get the energy to actually practice. I'm on my own and in the broom closet, so I'm not initiated.

I know what some people would say. You're not initiated, you're not really Wiccan (from the hardcore guardnerians, Brit tradditional, etc.). Or you are whatever you say you are (basically) from the eclectics.
Can I get someone in the middle to set me straight? Would I be like, a non-practicing Wiccan, or can i just say I'm Wiccan?
I'm glad it's bothering you - that probably sounds kinda nasty, but I don't mean it that way.  Too many people just slap the label on themselves with little thought.

I find I can't really answer this without more info, though.  I mean, I could write a long post about the various ways in which the word "Wicca" is used, the history behind how it came about, etc, but what you really want to know is where you fit into it, right?

You say you can't get the energy to "actually practice".  What, exactly, do you mean by "practice"?  You say you "believe Wiccan things" - which ones, and what do you believe about them?  Which writers explain Wicca in the way that most makes you feel it's the right descriptor for you, and why?

I'm not necessarily disagreeing with your self-description as Eclectic Wiccan (I've read enough of your posts; you're somewhere in the range of Eclectic Wicca/NeoWicca/Wiccish/Wiccanesque), just trying to get a better idea where you fit in that range.

Sunflower
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« Reply #10: June 07, 2007, 03:44:37 pm »


You mention that you are involved in some physical activities:  skating and yoga.  Has your understanding of skating and yoga changed since you began identifying yourself as Wiccan?  Has Wicca brought new meaning to your involvement in music?   And, just as important, has music and sports brought new meaning to Wicca for you?

It has, actually. I suppose you could almost say that I practice Wicca through these activities, but I don't do formal rituals or cast formal spells. Wicca's put depth into everything I do, now that I think about it.
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« Reply #11: June 07, 2007, 08:53:08 pm »

This has been bothering me for a bit.

I call myself Wiccan, because I believe Wiccan things. However, I am an incredibly busy person (figure skating two times a week, yoga, violin, summer school for fun, part time work, and soon to start voice again). I just can't get the energy to actually practice. I'm on my own and in the broom closet, so I'm not initiated.

I know what some people would say. You're not initiated, you're not really Wiccan (from the hardcore guardnerians, Brit tradditional, etc.). Or you are whatever you say you are (basically) from the eclectics.
Can I get someone in the middle to set me straight? Would I be like, a non-practicing Wiccan, or can i just say I'm Wiccan?

One who hold Wiccan beliefs sounds about right to me.
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« Reply #12: June 08, 2007, 11:29:02 am »

It has, actually. I suppose you could almost say that I practice Wicca through these activities, but I don't do formal rituals or cast formal spells. Wicca's put depth into everything I do, now that I think about it.

Yeah!   Wink That's the way it was for me too when I first started to walk the path.  For the first few years, Wicca enhanced my life by bringing new meaning, but it took awhile before I was called to practice ritual.  When the call came, it was undeniable, and after a few short and fairly casual rituals, I realized that I had never actually dedicated myself to the path. 

With the realization that I had not dedicated came the realization that I had thought about it many times before, but I had not done it because I had no idea how to do it.  Yeah, I'd read a bunch of "self-initiation" (canned, so to speak) rituals, but somehow self-initiation seemed so intensely personal that I wanted to write my own.

And when the call actually came I realized with a chuckle that I now knew exactly what I wanted/needed to do.  I wrote that ritual in about 3 minutes (although I had certainly been working on it for about 4 years).  Once I did the ritual, I found myself opening up to all new kind of ideas, and syncronicity started to kick in big time.

I still consider myself a Solitary in the sense that my relationship with the God and Goddess is so intensely personal that no other human would completely understand it.  Also, I still feel the title "Solitary" applies to me because of my own emphasis on taking responsibility for my own life in general and for my own studies specifically.  I still occasionally do solitary rituals and a few spells.

But, I'm now also part of a coven so I sure see where folks are coming from when they say that initiation into a tradition brings a new level of meaning.  It is very true--it does bring new levels of meaning--there is no doubt in my mind that it does.  Would my coven experience have been as meaningful if I had found it before I found my personal path?  I really doubt it.

And other things bring new levels of meaning too:  higher education will bring HUGE meaning to your Wiccan path; traveling, talking, listening, and reading (even if the book is a poor one) will also bring meaning.  Once you're open to the new way of thinking and perceiving life, all experiences (even the terrible ones) will eventually fold into your understanding of the mysteries.  The fact that you already realize that your sports, music, and other activities are part of your own solitary practice shows me that you are miles and miles ahead of where I was at your age.

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« Reply #13: June 08, 2007, 11:55:58 am »

This has been bothering me for a bit.

I call myself Wiccan, because I believe Wiccan things. However, I am an incredibly busy person (figure skating two times a week, yoga, violin, summer school for fun, part time work, and soon to start voice again). I just can't get the energy to actually practice. I'm on my own and in the broom closet, so I'm not initiated.

I know what some people would say. You're not initiated, you're not really Wiccan (from the hardcore guardnerians, Brit tradditional, etc.). Or you are whatever you say you are (basically) from the eclectics.
Can I get someone in the middle to set me straight? Would I be like, a non-practicing Wiccan, or can i just say I'm Wiccan?

Mithril,

I can totally relate to your lack of time to devote to study and "practicing" Wicca but don't let that bother you.  Being Wiccan is more defined by your way of looking at the world and how you react to your world rather than doing spells, rituals, and such.  Many books on Wicca stress that all a practicing witch really needs is their mind.  You may even find that you wander away for a while and come back (I've done that), don't feel guilty.  If you haven't already try to make some time to read books by Scott Cunningham and Silver Ravenwolf on beginning Wicca.  These are the two authors that really got me started on the path, their knowledge and advice and solid.  If Wicca is right for you, you will always end up back by the God and Goddess' side.  Merry Meet. Cheesy
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« Reply #14: June 08, 2007, 12:00:10 pm »

If you haven't already try to make some time to read books by Scott Cunningham and Silver Ravenwolf on beginning Wicca.  These are the two authors that really got me started on the path, their knowledge and advice and solid. 

You're quite possibly going to find you get a lot of posts on this one, so I should warn you that Silver RavenWolf is not an author respected by many, for reasons such as inaccurate history and inaccurate deity information, encouraging kids to lie to their parents, etc.  That said, if you get a large number of responses re: Silver RavenWolf, it's not aimed at you, and isn't intended personally.
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